‘Batman’ actress Francine York dead at 80

Francine York in 1963
Francine York in 1963
(Edward Gamer/Los Angeles Times)

Francine York, a statuesque actress who appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies in a decades-long career, has died. She was 80.

York died Friday at a Los Angeles hospital following a battle with cancer, said her friend, Pepper Jay.

The 5-foot-8 York was born in Aurora, Minnesota and had a childhood dream of performing. She modeled and was a nightclub showgirl before starting an acting career in low-budget movies and bit parts on television shows such as “Rescue 8” and “Route 66.”


She was the moll of the supervillain Bookworm on “Batman” in 1966 and played Venus de Milo on “Bewitched.”

Her credits included a slew of 1960s and 1970s hit shows, such as “The Odd Couple,” ’’Green Acres,” ’’Love, American Style,” ’’Ironside” and “Burke’s Law.” In recent years, she appeared in episodes of “The Mindy Project” and “Hot in Cleveland.”

York had more than two dozen movies roles. She played Sabrina, leader of a team of women assassins in 1973’s “The Doll Squad,” which may have inspired TV’s “Charlie’s Angels.”

She was in 1964’s “Bedtime Story” starring Marlon Brando and David Niven; “Tickle Me” with Elvis Presley in 1965 and was Nicolas Cage’s mother-in-law in 2000’s “The Family Man.”

One of her favorite roles was Lorraine Temple, a blackmailer and former prostitute, on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” in 1978.

“This was the role of roles” but it was hard work, she told Tom Lisanti in his book “Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema.”


“One underestimates actors who toil on soaps,” she said. “You have to learn pages of dialogue in a day and just before you go to shoot it they hand you all these changes.”

Never married, York was the companion of director Vincent Sherman for a decade until his death in 2006.